In Search for the Ideal Running Form

By Dr. Lisa Piropato

What is the optimal way to run? What does the perfect form look like? For runners, there are a few factors to consider before these questions can be answered. A runner needs to consider speed and performance, efficiency, and injury potential. These three factors are what needs to be balanced to determine the optimal running form. During evaluation of running form, we consider these factors to calculate step rate, look for any wasted motions that may decrease efficiency, and how the leg hits the ground. The last is the most important for injury potential regarding how hard the foot hits the ground, how often, and how well the leg is controlled. The “optimal” running form includes soft landings, good balance on the support leg, quick and light steps, and use of core and hip musculature to push forward. All of these factors are key for performance, efficiency, and decrease risk for injury.

Thinking you want to change your running form? Answer these questions first. Are you happy with your current mileage? Are you satisfied with your race times? Have you been able to avoid sustaining injuries related to running? If any responses are “No”, contact your Body One physical therapist for an evaluation of your running form today.

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